Rise Silver Spring July 7th
A pleasant Saturday afternoon following a long heat spell. A haircut appointment scheduled for 2:00 pm and my first visit to Rise Silver Spring planned for afterwards. A good cut, a good session, and an electric razor. The Suite Barbershop. You can let them know I told you but don’t expect the free razor. Experiential services can often be much more enjoyable that mass produced goods. And you don’t have to make space for them in the hoarding closet of unnecessarities, thanks Amazon. I could be totally satisfied by cutting my own hair for free. But the 30 minutes of “me” time with my friend supporting his business is priceless.
Located around the corner from the barbershop is the Rise Dispensary. I have been reviewing the online menu for this dispensary and slightly buzzing with anticipation. That feeling is worthwhile in and of itself. I don’t need the pot, but I can really use the excitement. This is my first visit to this dispensary location, so I go through the registration process. Someone should make a coffee table book about waiting rooms. The last picture is of the waiting room you are in. The room is spacious with a friendly staff. One woman sits at a registration desk full of paperwork and a desktop computer. Very professional. Another woman sits behind a clear desk eating a Twix candy bar. She looks over at me and smiles.
“This Twix is sooo good.” Not even speaking to me, just at me and anyone else in earshot. Her eyes focus on me and she asks. “Would you like one?” I humbly resist stating I don’t want to take her last Twix. In the same tone she repeats “This Twix is sooo good. It’s a four pack.” I smile and take the Twix. It tastes like every other Twix I have ever had. She asks the serious looking woman if she would like one and she shakes her head stating. “I just had a snickers bar.”
Bingo. I instantly feel more comfortable and it wasn’t the melty Twix. These are my kind of people. Weed tv is on, and I ask if it’s the same channel everywhere, although I haven’t found it on the local listings. She lets me know they are ready for me at register 3. Enter the dragon.
These Maryland stores need to get their counter game on point. My expectations have been idealized by Takoma Wellness Dispensary’s display cases of plethora. Glass cases of essentially every strain being offered for viewing and smelling next to each register. It must require a shit ton of pot to keep them stocked but I am certain it sells enough reefer to make it worth it. Shit ton is a technical marijuana term.
The sliding glass display drawers at Rise contain some high-end vape cartridges but nothing worth my attention. It’s like the moment of getting back to your college apartment and thinking ‘where’s the weed at’. On a back wall I see tubes and containers stacked on a shelf. Here we go again, I am going to need x-ray weed glasses to navigate this world. Big menu. Lots of options, maybe too many options. Clearly trying to build a competitive edge with more selections than necessary.
Let’s talk about choice management. When faced with an unmanageable number of options the first step is removing as many choices using predetermined parameters. Boom. You have gone from about 100 options to 20. Now look closer. Identify themes within the remaining selections. Then ask to view and smell those options with those tendencies in mind. Your body can tell you more than you think, you just have to listen. Narrow it down to three options based on what appeals to you within that moment. Don’t get caught up in fancy names, sales, and promotions although even the best of us fall prey to the consumer machine. Then choose one or two selections knowing that the rest will likely still be there when you come back.
Personally, I enjoy a THC range of 8-18% THC and I’m open to most CBD strains. I also have enough experience to know which genetics resonate well with my intentions, energy levels and disposition. Some strains make me feel too anxious or too overstimulated or utterly disconnected. This roadmap can only be built from experience and no 15-word description on the menu is going to accurately depict the effects of that specific types of marijuana for your personally. Build your safety net slowly with very low dosage. Figure out which strains are achieving the desired effects and in what amounts and consumption methods. Once you have your core selections you can experiment every so often with other options.
I prefer not to go above the 20% THC level where I consider marijuana enters the recreational sphere. Very strong marijuana can be used for medical purposes, but it is going to transport you to a different plane of consciousness and in my opinion is usually only truly medically applicable to terminal conditions. High dosages of high THC are highly psychoactive, and our genetic manipulation of this plant has created a powerful way to get high. If this is your kind of party, then I am in full support but don’t pretend that this is for a medical purpose other than disconnecting from reality. I prefer to enjoy marijuana to undo things not in order to do things.
So, I view some of the CBD strains and am not overly impressed. I end up getting an eight of Brenda’s Gift (CBD 7.5% and THC 5%). Unknown genetics but an appealing crystallization along with a pleasant smell. I look and smell a lot of pot, maybe 10 to 15 different strains. I also purchase a strain called Amherst Sour Diesel (18% THC and no significant levels of CBD). It smells like college. Probably because I attended Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts which was clearly the basis for the name. I take it home and I like it. It tastes like 2014 and passes the stinky weed test. Stinky stinky weed.
The Cannabis consultant is outgoing and somewhat knowledgeable. She has positive vibes and is willing to share her experiences. She is very kind to humor me and I don’t feel rushed or pressured to decide. I can see that there is no one else waiting and other people to assist. For medical reasons, I had to stop drinking a few years ago. I don’t miss drinking as much as you might think. But I do miss bartenders. I look for a bartender in a budtender and I’m not sure if that is a good thing. I enjoy the products, but I yearn for the consumer “experience” in the same way as my haircut.
Out of a range of 1 to 5, 1 being the lowest grade, my overall experience was a 4.20, chuckle. 5.5 for variety, which is not necessarily a good thing. More is not always better. Just ask cookies. 3 on pricing. If they are getting bulk they should have better price breaks. 4.75 for service. Especially the lady in the waiting room eating Twix bars. 4.8 for specific strains that fit my tastes. I will definitely go back but potentially do some price comparisons with the same strains at different stores. There are a limited number of growers in Maryland, so all the outlets are carrying essentially the same products. It’s a buyers’ market and it always pays to be educated.